The landscape of consumer technology in the U.S. has shifted toward products that offer richer entertainment experiences and simplicity, according to a new study by the NPD Group.

In the home, flat-panel TVs grew slightly to 64%, up from 61% in 2009 while the percentage of households with two or more flat-panel televisions remained flat. The broadening penetration of HDTV coupled with lower player prices, however, proved to be a boon for standalone Blu-ray players, which nearly doubled since last year, going from just 6% in 2009 to 11% in 2010.  Deep discounting during the 2009 holiday season was one key factor behind this increase.

While the PC market continued to be driven by replacement with overall notebook penetration remaining flat, netbook penetration also almost doubled, moving from 4% in 2009 to 8% in 2010. PC sales were driven in part by the release of new operating systems from Microsoft and Apple.

“Consumers are flocking to products that offer slim profiles and access to digital content,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. “Devices such as Blu-ray players, netbooks, and e-readers are being used to enable rich, connected experiences.”

E-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, one of the high points of the 2009 holiday are increasing in penetration and are now in 5% of U.S. households.

Driven by declining prices and better quality, flash camcorders, while still at only 10% penetration, doubled from last year’s 5% and still have plenty more room to grow in the coming years.  Certain segments of the market could help build that penetration faster than others. For example, households with children had a 13% penetration rate versus 9% of those without children.

Portable navigation devices have found their way into nearly 40% of U.S, households up from 30% in 2009.  PNDs have become attractive options for consumers with low average prices and have held their own against competition from cell phones because of their simplicity and ability to be used without a data plan.

Compact camera household penetration, at 73%, seems to have reached a plateau, but the instance of two or more digital cameras in the home is on the rise, pointing to a move from household penetration to individual penetration.  Households with two or more cameras rose from 22% in 2009 to 25% in 2010. However, those who had funds to spend were able to invest in more creative imaging. DSLRs, at 11%, also didn’t see an overall increase in household penetration, but among more affluent households penetration went from 18% in 2009 to 22%  in 2010.

[Source:  “2010 Consumer Technology Household Online Penetration Study.”  The NPD Group. 3 May 2010.  Web.  17 May 2010.]